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Nvidia in Advanced Talks to Acquire SoftBank-owned Chip Maker ARM For $32 Billion

Image for Representation

Image for Representation

Buying ARM would consolidate graphics giant Nvidia’s position at the centre of the semiconductor industry.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: August 1, 2020, 11:05 AM IST

US chip-maker Nvidia is reportedly in advance talks to acquire SoftBank-owned UK chip company ARM in a cash-and-stock deal worth at least $32 billion. According to a report in the Financial Times on Friday citing sources, the talks began after “Nvidia approached SoftBank, which has been pursuing a series of other asset sales, about a potential acquisition”. The proposed deal includes “both cash and stock and that it valued ARM at above the $32bn price that SoftBank paid for the business in 2016”. Both Nvidia and ARM did not comment on the report. The British chip designer powers major mobile processor from companies like Qualcomm, Apple, Samsung and Huawei.

Apple last month confirmed its break up with Intel chips for ARM chips in its Mac desktops, announcing it will transition the Mac to its world-class custom silicon to deliver industry-leading performance and powerful new technologies. Buying ARM would consolidate graphics giant Nvidia’s position at the centre of the semiconductor industry. SoftBank bought ARM for $31 billion in 2016. Microsoft makes an ARM-based Surface laptop and a version of Windows designed for ARM. According to The Verge, Nvidia would make an interesting owner for ARM. While Nvidia is the leader for GPUs, it has little to do with CPU design or mobile hardware.

Nvidia said this week it delivered the world’s fastest Artificial Intelligence (AI) training performance among commercially available chips, a feat that will help big enterprises tackle the most complex challenges in AI, data science and scientific computing. Nvidia A100 GPUs and DGX SuperPOD systems were declared the world’s fastest commercially available products for AI training, according to MLPerf benchmarks. The A100 Tensor Core GPU demonstrated the fastest performance per accelerator on all eight MLPerf benchmarks.



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Huawei Overtakes Samsung as World's Biggest Smartphone Maker Amid Sanctions and Controversies

FILE PHOTO: The Huawei logo is pictured at the IFA consumer tech fair in Berlin, Germany. (Reuters)

FILE PHOTO: The Huawei logo is pictured at the IFA consumer tech fair in Berlin, Germany. (Reuters)

Huawei shipped 55.8 million devices in the April-June period, trumping Samsung’s 53.7 million, according to a report by data research firm, Canalys.

  • Reuters
  • Last Updated: July 30, 2020, 2:53 PM IST

China’s Huawei Technologies snatched the title of biggest smartphone seller from Samsung Electronics in the second quarter, underscoring the resilience of the China market even as global demand for phones plunged amid the pandemic. Huawei shipped 55.8 million devices in the April-June period, trumping Samsung’s 53.7 million, according to data from research firm Canalys.

The Chinese company has felt the heat of U.S. sanctions that have disrupted its business overseas, but the latest numbers show its rising dominance in its home market. Huawei now sells nearly two-thirds of its handsets in China, which took an early hit from the coronavirus pandemic but has since reclaimed ground as new cases have dwindled. Smartphone makers dominant in other countries are still struggling as new virus cases continue to rise.

Huawei’s sales fell 5% from the same quarter a year earlier, while South Korea’s Samsung posted a 30% drop due to weak demand in key markets including Brazil, the United States and Europe. “Our business has demonstrated exceptional resilience in these difficult times,” a Huawei spokesman said. Domestic sales rose 8%, but Huawei’s overseas shipments fell 27% in the quarter.

The company’s stint as the top seller may prove short-lived once other markets recover, a senior Huawei employee with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Samsung said on Thursday it expects smartphone demand to pick up in the second half of the year. The United States has effectively blocked Huawei from using Google’s services, damaging the attractiveness of the Chinese company’s phones abroad, and limited its access to chips crucial for 5G networking.

S&P Global Ratings said in a report on Wednesday the latest restrictions on Huawei could wipe out $25 billion in revenue from several Asia-based firms. Huawei has yet to publicly address the impact these curbs will have on its operations. It remains unclear how much of Huawei’s second-quarter sales were driven by its 5G smartphones and high-end models that are most vulnerable to the restrictions, said Nicole Peng, vice president of Mobility at Canalys.


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Tech

DJI, the World's Most Popular Drone Maker, is Apparently Leaking User Data to China

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

Cybersecurity researchers have revealed that an app that controls DJI drones also collects vast amounts of user data that can be exploited by the Chinese government.

  • New York Times
  • Last Updated: July 24, 2020, 1:26 PM IST

Cybersecurity researchers revealed Thursday a newfound vulnerability in an app that controls the world’s most popular consumer drones, threatening to intensify the growing tensions between China and the United States. In two reports, the researchers contended that an app on Google’s Android operating system that powers drones made by China-based Da Jiang Innovations, or DJI, collects large amounts of personal information that could be exploited by the Beijing government. Hundreds of thousands of customers across the world use the app to pilot their rotor-powered, camera-mounted aircraft.

The world’s largest maker of commercial drones, DJI has found itself increasingly in the crosshairs of the U.S. government, as have other successful Chinese companies. The Pentagon has banned the use of its drones, and in January the Interior Department decided to continue grounding its fleet of the company’s drones over security fears. DJI said the decision was about politics, not software vulnerabilities.

For months, U.S. government officials have stepped up warnings about the Chinese government’s potentially exploiting weaknesses in tech products to force companies there to give up information about U.S. users. Chinese companies must comply with any government request to turn over data, according to U.S. officials. The drone vulnerability, said U.S. officials, is the kind of security hole that worries Washington.

The security research firms that documented it, Synacktiv, based in France, and GRIMM, located outside Washington, found that the app not only collected information from phones but that DJI can also update it without Google reviewing the changes before they are passed on to consumers. That could violate Google’s Android developer terms of service.

“The phone has access to everything the drone is doing, but the information we are talking about is phone information,” said Tiphaine Romand-Latapie, a Synacktiv engineer. “We don’t see why DJI would need that data.” Romand-Latapie acknowledged that the security vulnerability did not amount to a backdoor, or a flaw that allowed hackers into a phone. DJI says its app forces updates on users to stop hobbyists who try to hack the app to circumvent government-imposed restrictions on where and how high drone can fly.

A Google spokesman said the company was looking into the claims in the new reports. Synacktiv did not find the same vulnerability in the drone-maker’s iPhone application.

Paul Mozur, Julian E. Barnes and Aaron Krolik. c.2020 The New York Times Company


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Sony Invests $250 Million in 'Fortnite' Maker Epic Games: Here's What This Could Mean

The investment will enable both Sony and Epic to broaden their collaboration to create unique experiences for consumers and creators.